The time is past when humankind thought it could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity.
French President Francois Hollande
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from around the world, has high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise in the upcoming decades. They have even predicted that over the next century temperatures will rise anywhere from 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This can result in beneficial impacts in some regions as well as harmful in others.
Taken as whole, the range of published evidence indicated that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Global warming has already shown its presence in the world. Signs are appearing everywhere from melting glaciers to shifts in precipitation patters that force animals to relocate.
With temperatures expected to increase, some predict that by the Summer of 2050 the Arctic will likely become ice-free. Over the last 30 years there has been a decline in the population of Adelie penguins from 32,000 to a meager 11,000. Sea levels are expected to rise between 7-23 inches, and with the melting of the ice caps it can increase by as many as 4 inches.
Polar bear biologist Ian Stirling believes that with the sea ice disappearing, the polar bears will as well. With no ice to live on and fish for food, polar bears will get considerably skinnier, a process that already appears to be happening.
A major impact that people tend to overlook is the effect that it will have on plants. Global warming will allow plants to flower earlier than usual, which doesn’t seem like a bad thing. However, if a plant blooms before a pollinating insect becomes active then species that depend on each other will become out of sync. Even the smallest impacts can have a major global effect.
Global warming isn’t something that solely affects our temperature. It will disrupt ecosystems; weather patterns, animal mobility, floods and droughts will increase around the globe. This is a problem that is on the fast track thanks to human activity, and yet the results of global warming effect much more than human life.
Global warming is real. It is happening now. It is up to us to make a difference.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
For more information about the causes to global warming, read Part 1.